X marks the spot for loose corks, spiced rum and a hidden treasure. It’s a pirate’s life or no life for geology major Elizabeth Colella.
Colella has been re-enacting pirate acts for 10 years and has never been merrier.
Colella started doing pirate re-enactments when her sister’s friend needed help at a vendor booth for an event. Actually, Colella’s sister volunteered her to play the part. She then continued working for the vendor for three years.
Soon after, Colella went off and continued her journey as a solo pirate, until 2014 when she joined Outlaw Pirates, an actual pirate crew that works events for parties and kids. As far as events, the biggest one takes place in Belmont. They bring their ship fully decked out along with the entire crew.
“We do a lot of public events. They’re usually straight at the festival that is planned in town or wherever they’re holding events,” Colella said. “Our biggest festival every year is in Belmont. We have our ship moored out by the pier.”
Like an actual pirate crew, Colella mentioned they even have a captain, Captain Morgan to be exact, and yes that’s his real name.
“Wherever my captain says he needs me, if I can schedule around my exams and homework, I will pirate away,” Colella said.
Aside from her crew, Colella also mentioned she has a pet parrot, Sydney. Her goal is to train Sydney so she can bring him along to upcoming events and join their other parrot, Stella, who’s already trained and part of the crew.
According to Colella, every member has a certain role that they have to play when they go out to the events. Her position is called the ‘Gaoler’.
“The Gaoler on a pirate crew has basically the same responsibilities that a present-day jailer does, to take charge of and watch over any prisoners that might have been taken.” Colella said. “I’m an officer on the crew, second only to the first mate and the Captain himself. By Boatswain’s mate, I mean that I’m basically her ‘right-hand girl.’”
While pirating, she is also focused on school. Majoring in Geology has always been an interest of hers.
“I’ve always been fascinated by rocks and the Earth’s forces that create them since I was a kid. I always had rocks in my pockets. I don’t think much has changed,” Colella said. “I’m always finding random rocks in my backpack and purse, so I figured what better thing to do than turn my fascination and hobby into a degree.”
The main influence from all this comes from Roxanne Colella, her older sister, who was actually a member of the first pirate reenacting group in Los Angeles. She joined the Brethren of the Coast in 1989.
“I’ve always been an entertainer, so I spend most of my pirate time singing, dancing and acting. Like my sister, I’m also loud, so shouting out Captain’s orders or announcing events generally falls within my wheelhouse,” Roxanne Colella said. “I’ve moved away, so now I do guest appearances, but one day I’ll head up the Florida chapter of Outlaw Pirates because that’s what Captain Morgan ordered me to do.”
As far as dating life goes for Elizabeth Colella, according to her, people get weirded out by the idea when she tells them what she does as a hobby.
“I don’t have time for a man right now. It never works out. They’re like, ‘You’re a what?’ I pretty much don’t have time to nurture a relationship. I have a goal with school,” Elizabeth Colella said. “My life revolves around school, pirates, and the bird, can’t forget the bird.”
According to Morgan Griffin, captain of the Outlaw Pirates, it’s Elizabeth Colella’s job to take care of any problems among the crew.
“She has to take care of over a hundred girls that are on the crew. She’s an excellent person. She’s very outgoing and talkative,” Griffin said. “As of me, I’m just the captain and I’ve been doing this for 15 years. We own our own pirate ship around birds and I run the Outlaw Pirate, which is the largest pirate women crew in the world.”
Most of the inspiration for this also comes from books. According to Elizabeth Colella, books are far more inspirational and realistic than watching a pirate film, as Hollywood has manipulated the idea of what it actually is. For her, it’s a way of historical re-enactment.
Elizabeth Colella and her crew’s next event is going to be taking place in February, and she’s already preparing for it.
“I’m already planning for February. New costuming, new leather, new everything,” Elizabeth Colella said.